Sada-e-Watan Sydney ™

The Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane condemning racist attacks on Muslim Community and particularly Muslim Women

The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE [10.21 p.m.]: I speak on an issue that has been giving me and many in the wider Australian community, as well as the entire Australian Islamic community, considerable distress—that is, the baseless and cowardly attacks on the Australian Muslim community, particularly Muslim women, in the past few weeks. These attacks show the ugly side of some in our wider community. In a few instances it also shows the beautiful side of the Australian community at its best. I am pleased that in a number of circumstances bystanders have come to the aid of victims and stood up for the values of decency that most Australians share.

At this juncture I express my gratitude to the many decent journalists in our national and regional news media outlets, including the Newcastle Herald and The Young Witness, for their objective, community-minded reporting. I take this opportunity to congratulate Young's general manager, Peter Vlatko, and Mayor Walker, who expressed solidarity with the Muslim community in Young, saying, "We are proud of our multicultural heritage." I am also thankful to our New South Wales Opposition leader, John Robertson, and our Federal Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, for their forthright condemnation of such un-Australian behaviour.

It has been reported that there have been at least 30 attacks on Muslims, mainly against women wearing the hijab, in the three weeks since the police anti-terror raids. There is no justification for these attacks. They are uncalled for, unacceptable and un-Australian. Some examples of these attacks in New South Wales as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald include: a woman was threatened with having her hijab torn from her head and set alight; a cup of coffee was thrown through the car window of a woman driving while wearing a hijab; a mother in Western Sydney was spat on and had the pram carrying her baby kicked; a woman in a hijab was physically attacked in Western Sydney and her car subsequently vandalised, with profanities spray painted on it; and a heavily pregnant woman was verbally abused and intimidated in Sydney.

Members may also recall an incident in the Hunter where a Muslim woman was verbally assaulted and another decent Australian who intervened was also assaulted. In addition, there have been threats and attacks on Muslim property and places of worship in New South Wales, including Lakemba Mosque and Auburn Gallipoli Mosque being directly threatened in letters sent by the Australian Defence League—an organisation known for its hateful attitude towards Muslim Australians. Two cars belonging to a Muslim family in Wentworthville had the words "Muslim dog" spray painted on them. Direct threats against the Grand Mufti of Australia were issued by anonymous members of the Australian Defence League via a letter saying,
"Muslims … Australia will fight you 'terror for terror', 'blood for blood', 'bomb for bomb'." Minto Mosque was threatened via a letter from an anonymous source.

Communities are already worried that the political statements made by Federal parliamentarians fuel such attacks by sending the wrong message that it is okay to be a bigot. Furthermore, it is a shame that Australian citizens have to write to our Prime Minister to ask him to do his job and speak out against bigotry. Almir Colan, an executive member of the Islamic Council of Victoria, told the Guardian Australia:
We want the Prime Minister … to concentrate on responsible, productive language. If Tony Abbott used strong words, if he said that an attack on Muslims is an attack on all of us that would isolate the bigot and reassure Muslims.

We now have a community of people who are fearful and scared to go about their normal business and be part of the wider community. I have heard that many Muslim women are scared to be out in public for fear of attack. My own sister, who wears a scarf, is an example in point. Yesterday she recalled an incident that happened some time ago where a truck driver told her to remove the towel from her head. She said the trauma of that incident has returned recently and she now fears walking alone at night. I call on the police, this Parliament, and the broader Australian community to unite and send a strong message that cowardly, racist attacks will not be tolerated and must always be condemned. This is not who we are. It is not what our country stands for.

The Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC.
Level 11, Room 1116.
Parliament of New South Wales
Parliament House
Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
 02 9230 2526 || � 02 9230 2722

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